10/14/2008
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to post a question here on Emerging Parents. My husband and I are presently trying to figure out the "how" and "what" to the issue of church.

What is your family currently doing as far as growing your children spiritually? Do you attend church, do church in a home or an alternative and how did you come to this decision?

We respectfully disagree on what we should do, yet, some type of a decision needs to be made. We have no idea how to come to some type of middle ground, if there is any, and both passionately believe that this is a very important part of our parenting journey.

Looking forward to a discussion about this.
 
posted by Jenn at 6:52:00 PM |


9 Comments:


At October 15, 2008 at 4:21 AM, Blogger Bill

For our family, Jenn, we talk about church alot. What I mean is that we tend to share with our kids what we like and don't like about church and get their input on it also.

First and foremost, I'm trying to get them to see that church is not somewhere we go or something we do on Sunday mornings. Church is a group of people who are trying to follow Jesus, and this group is all over the world.

Secondly, in a general sense, we talk about "church activities" as to what the songs, sermons, and services are about. We especially try to bump these up against what Jesus taught.

So we try to instill in them that church is about who we are (people following Jesus) rather than about where we go or a particular timeslot.

I'm interested to hear how others are working this out in their families.

 

At October 15, 2008 at 7:22 AM, Anonymous Henry Zonio

I think that it is important for every believer to be part of a local "church." Now, what that might look like may be different for different people in different areas of the world at different times. We were created for relationships: with each other, with God, with creation...

So, when it comes to our family we involve ourselves in a local church congregation and serve within that context. We also make sure that our children understand that following Christ is an everything thing... it's part of everything that we do.

I really don't try to spend too much time on splitting hairs on terminology. I think that can be counterproductive much of the time.

It is my utmost goal as a parent for my children to be in a dynamic relationship with God that permeates every aspect of their lives. As they live that out, I want them to understand that means they are to be a part of what God is doing in lots of different areas of life and they are to be in relationship with people at all spectrums of their spiritual journeys.

Is being a part of a "church" important in that? Yes. Is being a part of a "church" all there is to that? No.

 

At October 15, 2008 at 10:30 AM, Anonymous Jenn

Thanks for the insights, Bill and Henry. My husband and I are in absolute agreement that we need to be holistic in our approach to God and spirituality. We have beautiful conversations in daily moments with our children on all sorts of things that Jesus taught and open ended questions about what he meant when he said them. I am always amazed at how much insight these young children can have on spiritual matters. It confirms more and more why Jesus told us to come as children. :) We do have other christian families that we socialize with on a regular basis so there's some semblance of community. Sunday mornings are where the issues come in because I feel that what our children are getting is over glorified in my husband's mind vs. what they are actually "getting" from it. I know what we talk about at home and feel that it is greatly watered down at church, make sense? That combined with the fact that they don't really enjoy going makes me question what the point is. My husband is a little more traditional in his thinking. I am trying to respect that but continue conversations around other ways that we could "do church" as this is still very important to him.

 

At October 15, 2008 at 10:39 AM, Blogger brett

Jenn-
How old are your kids?

 

At October 15, 2008 at 12:37 PM, Anonymous Jenn

Our kids are 7yrs, 5yrs and 3yrs.

 

At October 17, 2008 at 1:46 AM, Blogger Chase Hulderman

Church is important. Especially when training young children in the way in which they should go (as scripture tells us). This comment leaves far too little room to expound on the scriptural precedent for this.

Most churches do give watered down teaching to the young. Depending on your children's ages, the approach obviously is different. The godly example of their parents is paramount. So, you've got that covered looks like.

Have you considered catechism class? Considered a bible study with your children? Training them how to do exegesis?

Giving your children the tools to read scripture and know who the God is that they love is an incredible gift. It's hard to know a God you just talk about...

However, I will agree with your husband. Fellowship is a continual theme throughout scripture (ex. I Tim). Surrounding your children with godly men, women, and other children is very important.

I like this! -- henry said..."Is being a part of a "church" important in that? Yes. Is being a part of a "church" all there is to that? No."

 

At October 17, 2008 at 1:47 AM, Blogger Chase Hulderman

This comment has been removed by the author.

 

At October 19, 2008 at 5:58 PM, Blogger The Feral Pastor

My wife and I are both pastors, currently serving as interim pastors in two different congregations, and we have two girls ages 12 and 7.

As others have said, we are trying to teach our children to be church 24/7 along with us as we try to do that ourselves! But as far as Sunday worship services are concerned we are frankly making it up week by week.

Sometimes they are with me, sometimes with mom, sometimes with extended family at a third congregation which is near out home and has their school friends attending. Other times we have a family worship time at home on Sunday.

A while back, I specifically wrestled with how I felt about the girls not having "a church home" since they were so itinerant as a result of our employment. I ended up ambivalent. I see a loss to them from not having one particular community to identify with and the consistency of relationships there. But I see a greater gain to them of having a clear sense of belonging to something much larger than a congregation.

Given the growing uncertainty I have about the future of conventional congregations, that broad experience may end up being more valuable to them that I can imagine!

 

At November 10, 2008 at 6:09 AM, Blogger hewhocutsdown

My wife and I have left the institutional church structure altogether, and are currently in the gestation stage of birthing a local congregation in our own home - drawing wisdom from others who have done so successfully, and studying Acts and reading John Zens.

It's challenging but we think the end result will be a better one, a church as ingrained with everyday life upbringing for our child(ren).